Fr. Annad Muttungal, PRO and Spokesperson for Catholic Council of Bishops of MP and CG states of India supports latest Report of the National Commission For Minorities that visited Madhya Pradesh & Chattisgarh

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The Report supports the demand of the Christian community in Madya Pradesh and chattisgarh to have a high level enquiry into the allegations of alleged conversion and the attacks on the Christian community. The church welcomed the recommendations of the commission. " We ask the Government to initiate action on the Report of the Commission, the alleged forced conversion is a political agenda of the Sanga Parivar to keep its cadres together as they have no issue to shout slogans as usually they do."

RECOMMENDATIONS AND OBSERVATIONS OF THE TEAM

At the conclusion of the visit of Members of the NCM to two different States, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, we have come to certain conclusions which are as below:-

We have heard from various people about atrocities committed on Christians. They include people from all walks of life such as Bishops, Priests and Christians in different districts like, Bhopal, Jhabua, Jabalpur, Betul, Hoshangabad, Seoni, Dhar, etc. in Madhya Pradesh and Jashpur, Raipur, Bilaspur, etc. in Chattisgarh. During the course of our fact-finding mission, we heard very serious allegations made against RSS, Bajrangdal and Dharamsena that they were intimidating, harassing and beating Christians on the plea that Christian were indulging in conversion of Hindus to Christianity.

There are also allegations that when atrocities were committed on Christians by the miscreants, Police remained mere spectators and in certain cases they did not even register FIRs. It has been reported that there had been recording of FIRs and counter FIRs by both the parties to prove themselves right. We have drawn certain conclusions and give our Recommendations and Observations in this regard. The role of NCM is already chartered that we have to see that there is no infringement of fundamental rights of citizens especially in our democratic and secular India.
1. Inquiry into the Incidents - The Christian organizations that met the Commission demanded an inquiry into the incidents by some high powered committee like a Judge of the Supreme Court or some High Court, or CBI. Facts must come to surface and a peaceful atmosphere built up for people belonging to minority community to live in harmony and security. The Commission has nothing to add, for or against, except that justice must prevail and peace maintained.

2. Home Ministry - Directions may be sent by the Home Ministry, Government of India to the State Governments to ensure that there is no persecution of any person on frivolous and baseless allegations levelled by any one much less by any political party. The custodian of law and order is the District Magistrate and the SSP in any district and not any political party. Therefore, Police Department and the District Administration should remain alert, vigilant and agile when any such complaint comes to them and action need to be taken in proper perspective without delay.

3. Definition of Conversion - It has to be found out what is the actual definition of conversion as alleged by the Bajrangdal and Dharamsena against Christians. We were told by the Bishops that without the performance of the solemn ritual of Baptism which takes place in the Church, no one becomes Christian. We were further informed that any Baptism that takes place is done only after an individual swears on affidavit before the SDM.

4. It is the considered view of the NCM that in a secular country like India, the Fundamental Right of professing and practising one`s religion should not be infringed upon. India is the biggest democracy based on democratic and secular system as enshrined in the Constitution of India.

5. If stringent action against the perpetrators of unrest and disharmony is not taken and their activities not nipped in the bud, it will have an adverse effect on the minorities. Therefore, the NCM is of the considered view that anyone found guilty or indulging in creating unrest should be dealt with according to law.

Harcharan Singh Josh Ven. Lama Chosphel Zotpa
Member Member

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